Friday, February 01, 2013

Scheduled For Release Friday, 5 PM

One of the first lessons you learn in DC is to be prepared to head for the bar at 5 PM on Friday cause that is when all the bad news that makes your head want to explode appears.  A couple of weeks ago Eli reported that DSCOVR (aka Triana, aka Goresat) was being readied for launch, with a new primary space weather mission required by NOAA, but carrying the Earth Observation instrumentation,  Some of the bunnies were a mite cynical

Hank Roberts said... So it's got to be up to politicians -- today's politicians -- to decide if there's funding for a camera at L1, eh, not to mention the Dark Side Climatesat also needed.


You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that, you son of a bitch!”
— Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, People magazine, 8 April 1974.
Anonymous said... The earth observation suite will almost certainly not fly.

NASA can't spend money on the earth observation suite. NOAA most likely won't spend money on the earth observation suite (they have bigger problems right now).

Now Eli never answers questions when he can ask people who actually know the answers, so he wrote a brief note to Alexander Marshak who is the Goddard SFC person leading the Earth Observation System part of the DSCOVR program
Could you point me to an INTERNET resource or send me files about the current status of the Earth observation instruments on DSCOVR and plans for their operation.
and received this curious reply
Dear Eli,
Thank you for your interest in the DSCOVR Earth science instruments.  I was instructed by the project that all questions related to the status the Earth observation instruments on DSCOVR should be addressed to Mike Simpson who is the NOAA contact at GSFC.
Regards, A. Marshak
Well, like Eli said, Eli asks, so Eli wrote to Mike Simpson

Could you provide any information about the current status of the Earth observation instruments on DSCOVR and plans for their operation. URLs or informational files would be a great help
and, after a prod, received this reply
Dr, Rabett:

Thanks for your email regarding the status of DSCOVR. At this time, NOAA is not able to  answer your questions, pending the outcome of the ongoing Congressional budget process. Once those issues have been resolved, we'll be in a better position to discussthe way forward on DSCOVR.

Regards, Michael Simpson
DSCOVR Program Manager
The list of copy to's on the Email included

NESDIS OSDactions: The Office of Systems Development (OSD) conducts requirements definition studies; provides overall systems planning; performs conceptual and detailed engineering; arranges the development and manages the acquisition of major system elements (spacecraft, instruments, launch services, and ground systems); and coordinates the integration, installation, and acceptance of NOAA civil operational environmental satellite systems and several of the higher ups in the OSD  and people in NOAA public affairs.

This is a NASA built satellite, but NOAA is the mission lead and responsible for operation.  There appears to be a concern at NOAA about committing to the Earth Observation part of the mission and its costs. 

The Rabett has been known to kick over a few hornet's nests, and this may be one.  It is obviously a decision that NOAA and NASA want to keep in house.   Shall we help them?


Hank Roberts said...

(be careful of that, something in it crashes the Mac Preview app, could be bad for windows too, dunno, but fascinating pictures).

Eli, show them the slide from that of the Chinese lunar mapper taking up a second life by looping around L2 and outward bound. (It was launched directly into lunar trajectory, at the beginning of its first mission).

They're high points, both L1 and L2.

kT said...

I'm sure Congressman Smith and his buddies will bring it up at their next space, science and technology hearing. We need the big rocket to nowhere, so something's gotta go.

Hank Roberts said...

Cheeses. So we need a Kickstarter, and a Petition the White House to create a DeathStar at L-1.

Then the Administration can back off the supporters by talking them down, building a PeaceStar instead.

Start a parallel drive to build it for the purpose of giving us a glimpse of God's view of the Creation (the important part, us) for better improving our creation care.

Just gotta pick allies with some leverage.

Anonymous said...


This isn't NASA money, so it's not competing with big rockets (or astronomy or planetary for that matter).

Since it's NOAA, it's competing with missions that assure the continuation of existing weather and climate data products.

If NOAA decides to divert money to this, they know the decision would come back to haunt them.

The fact that the earth observation suite on DSCOVR was not identified as a priority by the earth observation decadal survey is the final nail in the coffin; it will be very difficult for anyone to justify throwing money at these instruments.


kT said...

If they don't intend to fly this mission and these instruments then they should sell it to someone who can, and will. NOAA and NASA aren't the only game in town anymore, and they are rapidly losing relevance.

And the decadal surveys are point blank laughable. These are the guys that brought us the debacle of Webb.

Anonymous said...

Does Eli keep up with the old posts?

Eli may be happy to learn that Obama Listens(tm) and has included $ for EPIC and NISTAR in his FY2014 budget request.

So if it survives congress and sequester, the instruments may yet fly.

Also worth noting that Obama agrees with others that, if you want something to fly, you need to give it to NASA, and has returned Landsat (from USGS) and the climate sensors (from NOAA) to NASA.